Sheriff: 9-year-old Ohio boy dies after football practice

POMEROY, Ohio (AP) – The death of a 9-year-old Ohio boy who collapsed at a youth football practice is under investigation by local law enforcement officials.

A coach found Wyatt Barber unconscious on the ground and not breathing Monday after players took a break from running sprints during a practice at a high school football field in southeastern Ohio, Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood said in a statement Tuesday.

Wood said the county EMS responded to the emergency call around 7 p.m. Monday. Coaches performed CPR on the boy until medics arrived at the school in Olive Township, a rural community about 100 miles southeast of Columbus. The boy was taken to a hospital, where he died Monday night, Wood said.

Wood said sheriff’s officials are conducting an investigation, as they would with any death reported to his office. The football practice at the time was a walk-through and not a contact practice, Wood said.

The boy was in the third grade in Eastern Local School District, where Superintendent Scott Gheen said grief counseling was being offered to classmates and staff.

Wyatt was participating in the Big Bend Youth Football League, which school officials said is not affiliated with the district.

The league serves about 300 children from third through sixth grades, and participants come from Meigs and Gallia counties in Ohio and Mason County in West Virginia, league president Sara Pullins said Wednesday.

“We are all absolutely devastated at the loss of this beautiful little boy and praying for the family,” Pullins said.

Maj. Scott Trussell of the sheriff’s office said Wednesday no additional information was available.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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